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For Mother’s Day

I don’t remember your voice,
Or what would make you laugh
I don’t remember your hands,
Not really, not enough to count
I don’t remember the last time
I saw you healthy, rather my last memories
are as you live ill and dying,
not what either of us want
I know there were times before
when you insisted on going out
and seeking hidden places
of import to you and dragging us along
Times when we yelled and laughed and cried
but today, 16 years and two months since you died,
what I remember most isn’t what I remember
most clearly or what has faded best
or even all the things I wish I knew
Today I remember that you love me
Which is what I believe you wanted to last
Written May 7, 2011


Watch this. Listen to this.
I still envy poets who can do this. Of course, given how much poetry I’ve actually written lately, I’m just sort of generically jealous of poets.
It’s all for (mostly) good reasons. Life has been busy (and those who know me will tell you that my life is rarely otherwise). I’m have things to say about what I’m doing and what I’m experiencing, I just want to take the time to write them well. So, slowly those words will come.

In the meantime, listen to Joshua. His words are beautiful and sad and wonderful.

This has been my week.  It has been bad.  But I am lucky.  I have friends who listen and care.  I have health insurance.  I have doctors.  I have medications.

no matter how often I come back here
it is always a shock–
when I move my head,
when I breathe,
when I stand,
when I read,
when I live
and it doesn’t hurt;
when the elephants who
had taken to tangoing in my head,
along with the ice pick lodged
two inches from my right eye,
and the echoes that make
every noise repeating and loud,
when all have left,
no matter how often I come back here
it is always a miracle.

written 7-21-10

This happens.  Or at least it happens to me.  When it comes to writing, the writing I post here, the writing I do to feed the part of me that writes, I don’t actually worry too much about writer’s block.  It comes, and it will pass.  But this part of me isn’t compartmentalized.  This creative part of me is connected to my preaching, to my ability to continue to nurture and care for the people around me.  So when the writing stops, not slows down, or just doesn’t get posted, but stops, I worry.  Not that I won’t be able to do the preaching and the caring, but that if I have to start working harder to do them, the energy will have to come from somewhere.  And there just aren’t a lot of somewheres in my life right now.

It’s never that the words aren’t there
Sometimes it’s that they dance just out of my reach
Taunting me with their inaccessibility
Sometimes it’s they way they refuse to string together
Like beads on a string that is too wide
and I have lost the one talent I possess
Sometimes it is merely that I am moving too fast to find them,
Laying hidden amongst the banality of my days
Other times it is the stress or the sleep, or both, that blinds me
Most often, though, there is no reason I can point to,
Nothing I can blame, or know how to change,
For in every situation I would blame, I have, in past days
Written, with emotion and eloquence,
Leaving me with no strategy to find
No method to taking the scraps of paper and words
And coaxing them to communicate with the world, or even me
So I find myself staring at pen and paper, screen and keyboard
Remembering when these were mediums, tools, that I could use,
Remembering when I could write.

written 6-7-2010

It’s not that I don’t know that life is unfair.  It’s just that I often wish that life could be more fair.

Today I want to be mad at God
because I’m really mad at the world
and at bodies that don’t always work
and at unfairness and burdens that are too heavy
and at reality occasionally being an unfeeling bitch
with big sharp teeth and who doesn’t care about
youth and innocence and playing with friends
Because today a friend heard big words that will soon
have more meaning for her than they do for me
but right now I know that bodies don’t always work
and reality is mean and the world unfair
and that if I could be mad at God then
I could yell and scream and know that someone
and God would listen if I yelled and screamed
but it would be for me and after I would still
be mad at the world which will not ever listen

written 4-10-2010

Christine is hosting another Poetry Party and, as usual, I’m late to join in.  This weeks prompt was about deserts and fire and Lent.  (Instead of her image, I’m using one of my own.)

in the night of the desert
it is cold and dark and lonely
except for the thousands of stars
hanging in the sky
you can lay back and watch gases that
long, long ago and further away
than you will ever travel
or you can turn toward a blaze
you yourself had to kindle
in the night of the desert you cannot escape
warm and close or remote and dim

in the deserted night of the soul,
when you can only turn into yourself
and gaze upon the constellations
of your past choices,
you can lay back and wonder who
could love you
or you can turn toward reassurance
that God, who kindled all light and love,
loves you
and feel warmth and light from within

written 2-18-10

A friend lost a parent this week.  It is not my story to tell, but the death was not unexpected and prayers for S and family would be appreciated.

It felt as though my world had ended
when my loved one died
and I have come to the knowledge that this
was perfectly normal,
though nothing was normal or right.
Of course, I felt that the world had ended
because it had,
the world in which my loved one had lived
had ended and was no more.
Never again would I see their smile,
or hear their voice.
Never again would I be able to ask advice
or seek a hug from those arms.
The world I had lived in was over.
And I have come think,
that mourning is this task of
saying goodbye not just to a person
but to the world that was
getting use to a new world,
one you never wanted to live in.

written January 2010

How often do we forget,
as we gaze on the tableau
crystallized, porcelain, or plastic,
meant to tell us how Christ arrived,
born into a stable, with no resource at hand,
the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and
Beloved Son,
born to Mary and Joseph,
who choose their roles as parent.
Parents who wanted health and laughter
and who could foresee the squabbles about
dinner and bedtime and chores.
A father who would walk dusty roads in foreign lands
for the sake of his family’s safety.
A mother who had born a human child like any other child
in tears and sweat and pain.
Parents to a child whose end would be on Calvary,
a child born into our families.

written Dec 2009

I have much to be thankful for today.  Family, friends, good food, laughter.  But when I saw Christine’s invitation, I wrote something only tangentially related to all of that.

It is a task I have put off
for years and years and
years longer than I should
but now I finally sit
surrounded by piles and piles of
books I want to want to keep
but I also know that,
as much as this one was read
the year my life fell apart,
and that one is from my friend,
and that each has a story
of how I found them
not all will stay.
So I pick each one up and
remember and decide
and the pile by the door grows
and the shelves become
sparser and neater
and I give thanks for the
stories I am recalling
and the new stories
whose space is now waiting

written 11-23-09

Although not many people would be able to figure this out, my preaching is often related to my poetry.  Somehow they are creatively linked for me.  Which means that I sometimes wind up writing a poem that reflects my sermon.  Sometimes I turn towards poetry to help me figure out what I’m trying to say in my sermon.  Which is where this poem started.

I have called you by so many names
God, Father, Mother, Christ, Spirit
King, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor,
Lord of Lords, King of Kings,
and a host of others, sung or prayed
in concert with others who love you
And I have called you by more
friend, lover, Deity, Beloved
titles that I murmured in my own
conversations with you
I have named you by your actions:
Calmer of Waves and Healer of Persons
Forgiver of Sins and Encourager.
I have
referred to you with respect
spat at you in anger
joked about you when seeking levity
cried to you in grief, sorrow, and trouble
whispered in awe-struck gratitude
In the worst moments I have said nothing
staring and waiting for you and the world
to move around me
And in all this, by any name and through
every emotion and in each moment
You have been
Just as you promised,
“You shall be my people and I shall be your God.”

written 11-20-09

The funny thing was I wrote this, thought it didn’t provide the insight I was looking for, set both projects aside, and came back to discover that this was exactly where I was headed.

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